The family ties that have been healing the rift with our nearest neighbours
Watching the outpouring of warmth and friendliness – the cheers and tears by crowds at London and Windsor as the President and the queen stood side by side, Irish Tricolours intermingling with the Union flag, national anthems being played at parity – it was startling to recall a very different recent history.
Startling to remember that when I was a young schoolgirl, and Queen Elizabeth was crowned, Irish people had to creep secretly into Protestant church halls around the country to view that Coronation. Because the film of the Coronation was not allowed to be shown openly in the Republic of Ireland.
Startling to recall that when Princess Margaret, the queen's sister, visited Birr in 1960 – since Lord Rosse was her brother-in-law – the newspapers were full of letters of protest and the local IRA tried to plunge Birr into darkness by sabotaging the electricity.